Ensure you know what the SBA is looking for when you write your social and/or economic narrative. Also, make sure you know which topics to avoid, so you don't give the SBA the wrong impression.
It is not uncommon for an 8(a) application to be rejected by the SBA due to a miscommunication. The "Request for Reconsideration" process often reverses an initial rejection, and this book tells you how to do it.
A waiver request must be submitted with your 8a application if you have been in business for less than two years. Ensure you thoroughly understand the waiver rules so your request is approved.
The SBA would never endorse an 8(a) book authored by consultants, particularly one that discloses their internal 8(a) application evaluation criteria; however, the case study content and advice provided in Get 8(a) Certified is derived from real interactions with SBA representatives that resulted in approved social and economic narratives, 8(a) Applications, Requests for Reconsideration, 1010c Business Plans, etc.
Although the SBA does not say this bluntly, those familiar with the SBA 8(a) program understand the following key privileges make this program extremely desirable to small disadvantaged business owners and government personnel alike:
Only Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans are automatically considered "socially disadvantaged" by the SBA. Be prepared for an uphill battle to get accepted into the 8a Program if you are not a member of one of these groups.
Roger M. LaPlante possesses more than 25 years of experience in 8(a) federal contracting. He has held executive positions at several 8(a) certified companies, and was the Senior Partner at an 8(a) consulting firm that helped thousands of 8(a) business owners succeed in the SBA 8(a) program. Mr. LaPlante holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and is a formally active U.S. Marine.
Anna Liisa Van Mantgem is a writer and researcher who has worked on compiling and reviewing SBA 8(a) applications for compliance for customers since 2008. Prior to her 8(a) certification work, Ms. Van Mantgem served as a defense contractor at several different small 8(a) certified businesses over a ten year period. Ms. Van Mantgem is an honors graduate from the University of Maryland.
1. SBA 8(a) certified companies benefit from 8(a) status because federal employees authorized to purchase goods and services can simply award sole source contracts (up to $4 million dollars each; $6.5 million for manufacturing) without any competition or protest from other companies. In short, all an 8(a) certified company needs is a federal employee with a pressing requirement and an available budget--industry competition isn't a factor.
2. Federal government personnel benefit from working with 8(a) certified businesses because awarding contracts to 8(a) companies dramatically reduces their paperwork and risk. By setting a contract aside for an 8(a) company, federal employees eliminate the need to issue Request For Proposals (RFPs), collect quotes, evaluate proposals or worry about award protests from unhappy bidders. In addition, money can be allocated and work can begin in a matter of days, not months. This reduced labor burden for federal employees makes the 8(a) contract vehicle appealing to federal procurement personnel.
To join the 8a program, you must meet several financial criteria, such as a personal net worth under $250K. It is important to understand how the SBA will adjust your net worth and assess your finances before you apply.